Posts Tagged: The Guardian

Impending Death of a Dictionary

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Much like the parochial vocabulary it strives to catalogue, the Dictionary of American Regional English is in danger of extinction. A stopgap crowdfunding campaign is currently open to support the project in the short term, but the long-term forecast for the entity protecting such gems as “flumadiddle” (nonsense), “slippery jims” (pickles), and “rantum scooting” (going out with no definite destination) is grim.

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The Dystopian Present

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For the Guardian, Megan Quibell argues that climate change has changed dystopian fiction, as many recent dystopian works rely on a “catalyst” that stems from “the destruction of the environment.” The result is a series of books that “hammers home” the reality of climate change, which is “not something for the distant future.”

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Curating Life

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You might say that our blog offers curated literary articles. That might sound pretentious, but not nearly as pretentious as a curated salad, a curated college application, or a curated wine list. The Guardian takes a look at the use, overuse, and history of curation:

The idea of the contemporary curator originates with the conceptual art movement of the 1960s.

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Buying Online Is Like Shoplifting

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British novelist David Nicholls believes that book buyers who browse their local shops and then buy books online are basically shoplifters, he tells the Guardian. The author of Us and other novels, Nicholls is a former bookseller himself. He delivered the keynote speech at the London Book Fair’s Digital Minds conference where he lamented that, “a town without a bookshop is missing something.”

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LitHub Launches

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Lithub, a new web endeavor from Electric Literature with partnerships between publishers, magazines, journals, and existing websites, launched yesterday with the aim of becoming a portal at the center of the literary world. The Guardian caught up with site editor Jonny Diamond who explained how the website hopes to operate:

“The very basic quid pro quo is an ad in exchange for a feature or excerpt.

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How to Read in the Modern World

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There are many distractions in the modern world like television and listicles. As a result, people aren’t reading in the same way they did a half century ago, opines Oliver Burkeman at the Guardian. All is not lost. Aside from carrying a book around all the time, Burkeman suggests turning reading into a ritual:

…such ritualistic behaviour helps us “step outside time’s flow” into “soul time”.

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The Consequences of “Prize Culture”

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Over at the Guardian, Rachel Cooke reflects on her experience as a judge for this year’s Folio prize and shares what reading the eighty submissions revealed to her about the state of British and American fiction:

The British social history novel seems doomed so far as our prize culture goes; impossible to imagine a writer such as David Lodge enjoying the same career today.

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The Mystery Of Misleading Titles

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For the Guardian, Moira Redmond considers the prevalence of “misleading” book titles. The article references a number of well-known texts including Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, which Redmond suggests is “sublimely about non-housekeeping.” However, Moira argues that “allusive titles” are not without merit: “They can be intriguing and draw you in.

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The Original Copycat

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Tim Youd has recently undertaken the task of reproducing Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim, but the Guardian says the idea of copying classic novels is not so original; Pierre Menard, a character in a Borges story, did it first:

Although the words themselves were exactly the same, Pierre Menard’s fragmentary Quixote was judged to be “subtler than that of Cervantes”.

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Trollope Unabridged

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A restored version of Anthony Trollope’s The Duke’s Children, reinstating 65,000 words cut from the novel for its original publication, will celebrate the writer’s 200th birthday. The precise impetus for the cut is unknown, but researchers agree it was likely a call for economy from publishers; Trollope was outspoken in his frustration at being asked to pare down manuscripts.

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A Magical Bibliography

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A new bibliography cataloguing the various editions of Harry Potter publications will help readers identify which edition of the books they own. The collection will also reveal secrets of JK Rowling’s edits, reports the Guardian. The 544-page book took Sotheby’s director Philip Errington five years to compile and includes such facts as alternative titles like Harry Potter and the Death Eaters, Harry Potter and the Fire Goblet and Harry Potter and the Three Champion.

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Neruda Conspiracy Laid to Rest

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The investigatory saga following an accusation of foul play in the death of poet Pablo Neruda appears to be drawing to a close, thanks to a Chilean judge’s ruling. Neruda’s remains were exhumed in 2013, in the hopes of discovering whether his death was truly the result of his cancer, or the product of a politically motivated assassination by poison.

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Agatha Christie Was a Good Pen Pal

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Agatha Christie was never shy to reply to her fan mail, and now the notable crime writer’s letters will be collected and published in celebration of her 125th birthday. The collection will not only feature Christie’s letters, but also the original fan mail, including correspondences with a Polish woman who told Christie that her novel The Man in the Brown Suit helped her to survive German labor camps during the second world war:

“I read and reread (it) so often that I almost knew it by heart,” she wrote.

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So You Think You Can Write?

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A recent poll shows that the majority of Brits would choose the writing life as their ideal career. At the Guardian, Tim Lott isn’t sure they could handle it:

To master dialogue, description, subtext, plot, structure, character, time, point of view, beginnings, endings, theme and much besides is a Herculean labour, not made more appealing by the fact that you always—always—fail.

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